Your business is doing good, but you’d like it to grow bigger and better. The problem is, you don’t know where to start.That’s where we come in. We tapped into the great information at The Balance for 7 actions you need to take to move your business forward:
1. Set Goals That Push Boundaries – Top performing athletes like Venus Williams set goals. Successful businessmen like Richard Branson do the same. Why? Setting goals keeps you laser-focused on your long-term vision and inspires short-term motivation.
If you feel like you’re working really hard but not getting anywhere worthwhile, it’s time to set some clearly defined goals by which to measure your achievements and experience forward progress.
“The more you are willing to stretch and challenge yourself,” says The Balance, “the more you have to gain over the long term.” Mapping out a plan for growth will help you achieve new levels of success.
2. Focus on Customer Service – Retaining loyal, repeat customers is a key factor in the continued success of a small business. In addition to the regular income that repeat customers provide, happy customers also offer powerful—and free—word-of-mouth marketing.
“A customer is the most important visitor on our premises, he is not dependent on us. We are dependent on him. He is not an interruption in our work. He is the purpose of it. He is not an outsider in our business. He is part of it. We are not doing him a favor by serving him. He is doing us a favor by giving us an opportunity to do so.”
~ Mahatma Gandhi
Building good customer relationships goes beyond offering great products and services or offering support when a customer needs assistance. It’s about conveying that your business only exists to ensure your customers’ success, according to Viabl.
Among other things, this means you’ll need to be actively asking for and acting on feedback, responding to complaints quickly and thoroughly, and consistently be accessible and accountable.
3. Continue Education – As a small business owner, you spend a lot of time helping your company and team succeed. That being said, the thought of attending classes or seminars might seem impossible.
But according to Business Insider, “The reward goes far beyond personal growth. In fact, furthering your education can benefit your employees, business, and brain.”
Fortunately, there are various ways to continually learn and expand knowledge to help your business thrive, including online classes and tutorials, self-paced programs, mentoring, and reading business books.
4. Take Advantage of Delegation – Sometimes it’s hard for small business owners to walk away from their stores, even for a little while. But as you know, scheduling some personal downtime is crucial for anyone who runs a business in order to stay at the top of their game.
Scheduling downtime allows you to unwind from a busy year, re-charge your batteries, and connect with loved ones and friends. Downtime is also good for your health, according to research that indicates a lower risk of heart disease for both men and women. Additionally, business owners who take at least one week off say they experience an 82% increase in job performance after time off.
Delegation is a key factor in achieving time off. Make sure you hire management and other team members you can trust to run the day to day operations of your business so you won’t worry about work-related issues during personal time off.
Remember, learning how to delegate IS the difference between reaching new heights and burning out. Plus, delegating tasks to other capable employees gives you time to ponder and implement ways to grow your business.
5. Increase Productivity- If your company has even one bad process, it can affect your overall profitability and hinder your ability to accomplish your goals. If you have an out of date inventory management system, for example, you run the risk of losing money from overages and shrinkage.
Inefficient processes may lead to frustrated employees, missed deadlines, lost opportunities, non-compliance, and upset customers, all of which increase costs to the business.
Evaluate your processes to see what’s holding you back. Business processes ensure the smooth operation of any organization and with administrative functions running at peak efficiency, you’ll have more time to focus on growing your business.
6. Stay Current with Technology – SCORE indicates that small and midsized companies that lead in adoption of technology increase annual sales 15% faster than companies that didn’t adopt new technology.
Among other things, technology helps you connect with collaborators and customers, streamline operations, and experiment with new innovation.
According to Fast Company, “There are few barriers to entry in an age where anyone with wireless can cheaply and quickly access the enabling technologies needed to execute their business model.” You just need to create the appropriate operating blueprint that connects the dots between your business model and the application of accessible technologies.
Keeping up with technology will help you make better decisions, as well as save money, time and other resources.
7. Embrace Online Marketing – Online marketing can add a new dynamic to promoting your brand, products, and services. As the previous point mentions, the most successful small businesses are those that are willing to explore new outlets provided by innovative technology.
Consistently blending and testing your marketing efforts is a valuable way to discover not only what works but how to better connect with the desired consumers and gauge results.
You don’t have to use ALL marketing avenues at once, just the ones that work best for YOUR business’s marketing goals. Start out with one or two new platforms that align with the way you run your business, and then implement and/or change others gradually.